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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
I want to ride the bomb.
3.5/4 stars

At the height of Cold War tension crazed Air Force General Ripper orders his wing of bombers, which are circling just outside of Soviet territory, to attack the USSR. The Pentagon scrambles to put the situation back under control as Ripper has cut of communications from his base and his bombers will not respond to radio transmissions unless a mysterious code is first entered. The Soviet ambassador, called into tell the Soviet Primier that this is all just a mistake tell the Pentagon War Room, much to their chagrin, of a doomsday nuclear missile launching device that the Soviets built to counter any nuclear strike against the USSR. With the world just moments away from total nuclear annihilation, what is there too do that might save humanity? With this film Kubrick has crafted a brilliant look at not just the Cold War, during which the film takes place, but a look at paranoia, uber-patriotism, faith, and many other topics that are just as relevant in today's world as they were back then. Kubrick was an obsessive perfectionist with his films to make them work just right and this film, like many others of his shows that. Clever framing of objects in key scenes, most notably a big banner that reads "peace is our profession," which is in the background of a raging shootout, and the impeccably directed performances of key players in the film -- George C. Scott as General Turgidson, a calculating general on the edge of losing his mind, who gives a terrifically over the top performance ;Slim Pickens, the captain of a B-52 and determined to rain hell on the USSR; Sterling Hayden, as General Ripper, is also great as an American Patriot brought to the frayed ends of sanity by paranoia and "flouridated water in his bodily fluids." ; also, Peter Sellers' triple performance as Captain Mandrake, the US President, and Dr. Strangelove (three voices of sanity, well almost) in an otherwise insane situation, is terrific. Cast aside, the film's real power comes in it's presentation of the world stage and the irony of it all and the fact that there are two sides to every coin -- war is both a nation builder and a nation destroyer, nationalism both creates trust and demolishes it, paranoia both helps to keep the military in top shape to protect their nation or it can destroy everything we now know and hold dear. Finally there is the film itself -- both shockingly disturbing and very funny.


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